Tag Archives: politics

The end of Trump

This is what will destroy Donald Trump and his family. Not Russia, not the women, not his campaign finance. His real-estate business has been a shady, criminal enterprise for 30 years and plenty of people in New York know it.

And those of us who didn’t know it … knew it. Trump has been a figure on the New York gossip pages for nearly 40 years, and from the beginning everybody knew he was dirty. You might find him entertaining — you might even like him and admire his chutzpah — but you wouldn’t want to do business with him, because you knew he’d rip you off.

The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy explains socialism

This is a long read, but it’s excellent and worth the time investment if you take politics seriously.

Everything you think you know about socialism is wrong.

For example, socialism does NOT ban private property.

I now feel like I actually have some understanding of what socialism and communism are, which I did not have before.

I recently asked a friend whether he is a socialist and he replied he wasn’t sure, but he was sure that socialism would work better than whatever economic system we currently have. I agree. And I am definitely a social democrat. The US needs strong free markets, but it also needs strong government, to keep those markets serving the people, rather than the people serving the ultra-rich. Democracy, rather than markets, should be in charge of the US.

Government also needs to provide services, such as universal education and healthcare, that the free market does not seem to be able to provide.

Also, by the way, the universe of “Star Trek” is absolutely a socialist vision. No question about it. It verges on Communism.

What’s so bad about cultural appropriation? [Our Opinions Are Correct podcast]

Scholar and editor Jaymee Goh, whose doctoral research focused on cultural appropriation and steampunk, discusses what cultural appropriation is, and why it’s become a source of political debate in fantasy and science fiction. Also: that one terrible scene in Back to the Future. You know the one.

Slow Burn

I’ve been listening to season 2 of the Slow Burn podcast, which covers the impeachment of Bill Clinton.. It’s tough listening. Everybody involved in that conflict comes off as a shitheel.

Bill Clinton is a self-involved egotist, who can’t resist chasing skirt even when he knows his enemies are going to come after him for it.

The Republicans are lousy hypocrites. Half of them were having extramarital sex on the side even as they condemned that same behavior in Clinton. All of them are still around 20 years later and fawning over Trump, who has all of Clinton’s flaws and none of his virtues.

Ken Starr, in particular, is a sanctimonious prick, who has demonstrated willingness to cover up sex abuse scandal when it suits him to do so. Bill Bennett, who preached old-fashioned virtues, turned out to be a gambling addict.

Until literally a few weeks go, I saw Lewinsky as a victim and admired her public stance against bullying. But then she came out with a documentary about the Clinton affair. That was a few weeks ago, and when I saw it on the news I said enough already. Do something else with your life, Monica. Get famous for doing something else, or just stop talking in public and be a private person.

Monica was no child in 1998. She was in her early 20s. Old enough to make her own decisions, and suffer the consequences for them.

Lewinsky was loyal to the Clintons, and they repaid her loyalty by trashing her. Bill and Hillary are both guilty of that.

The Clintons were and are indeed targets of a “vast right wing conspiracy,” as Hillary Clinton says. But they feed that conspiracy by their paranoid, secretive ways.

Obama had a better approach – be transparent, and above reproach. Obama revealed himself a master of transparency during his first Presidential campaign when he wrote a memoir that said he was a heavy drug user in college, thus preventing his opponents from revealing this story themselves and putting their own spin on it. The punchline of that story is that the New York Times interviewed some of his former classmates and they said, nah, not that heavy. Barry did a little blow at parties now and then just to be social, and smoked a joint now and again, but he wasn’t heavily into the scene at all.

The only people who come off as admirable are a few Clinton staffers, all of them women, iirc. And they’re furious with Bill Clinton — here they are, working all hours and sacrificing their personal lives for a cause they believe in, and Bill Clinton is squandering all that for a frivolous sexual dalliance.

And by the way, I do believe that Bill Clinton didn’t inhale. He’s not trying to escape responsibility, he acknowledges having tried to smoke pot but said he was physically unable to do so. Part of the reason I believe the story is that I know another guy who did exactly the same thing.

We finally found election fraud [The Washington Post]

We finally found election fraud and Republicans are the ones doing it, running an operation in North Carolina to illegally pick up absentee ballots from African-American voters and keep them from being turned in. Disgraceful and criminal.

The Republicans have a record of making accusations against Democrats — usually, though not always, baseless — and then it turns out that the Republicans themselves are doing that thing. This dates back to Monicagate, when it turned out Clinton’s loudest Republican accusers were also having sex with their subordinates.

Why Is Rep. Hunter Opting for Sept. 2019 Trial? Keeping House Paycheck Is 1 Theory [Times of San Diego]

Duncan Hunter needs to draw out his trial to keep collecting a Congressional paycheck, according to one theory.

I still can’t believe East County voters went for this jamoke. If it had been ANY OTHER REPUBLICAN NOT ACTUALLY UNDER INDICTMENT, I would’ve shrugged it off. Conservative district. Uphill battle. But this clown?

What makes it particularly painful is that Ammar Campa-Najjar would’ve made a terrific Congressman.

And he will make a terrific Congressman, once Hunter is in prison, where you don’t have to worry about paying for food, lodging, or clothes.

The ‘feel-good’ horror of late-stage capitalism [ThinkProgress]

These kinds of feel-good stories drive me crazy when they turn up on the news. If we offered maternity leave, a livable minimum wage, and affordable healthcare, people wouldn’t have to rely on handouts from co-workers. Nobody should have to walk to work twenty miles because they can’t afford a car and we don’t provide public transit. We should not celebrate our societal failures as feel-good news.

George H.W. Bush, 41st President, Dies at 94 [John Gruber/Daring Fireball]

By far and away — I mean it’s not even close — my favorite Republican president since Eisenhower. I respect him deeply: from his lifelong commitment to public service, to his genuine bipartisanship. The collapse of the Soviet Union could have gone very, very wrong under less steady U.S. leadership.

Link

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez drives the right nuts.

And not just the right – also, moderate, older Democrats.

I love her. Moderate, older Democrats are destroying the party. Moderate, older Democrats cost the party the two houses of Congress, the judiciary, two thirds of the states, and they’re on their way to losing the courts. If the moderate, older Democrats have their way, the Democratic Party will be a powerless third party, sitting at the kiddie table with the Libertarians and the Greens. Time for change.

Link

It’s easy to derive the wrong lesson here. The point is not that Ayn Rand was a hypocrite. If you have strongly held political principles, you can’t live in the world without compromising them.

The point is that it’s impossible to build a market-driven healthcare system that works. Even the 20th Century’s greatest advocate of free markets needed government social programs to stay alive.